Hawley, Henry (DNB00)

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HAWLEY, HENRY or HENRY C. (1679?–1759), lieutenant-general, is stated to have been a grandson of the first Lord Hawley, temp. Charles II (Burke, Landed Gentry, 1868 ed.; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. xi. 389–90). Cannon, the war office compiler, identifies him with the Henry Hawley who on 10 Jan. 1694 was appointed ensign in Colonel Erle's regiment (19th foot), of which a Henry Hawley had been appointed lieutenant-colonel three years previously (Home Office Mil. Entry Book, iii. 151, 64). By his own account he ‘began the world with nothing’ (see will), and in 1706–10 he was a captain in the regiment once known as the Princess Anne of Denmark's Dragoons, and now the 4th queen's hussars. Hawley embarked with Lord Rivers's expedition in command of one of the troops, which afterwards served in Spain. He returned to England after the battle of Almanza in April 1707 (Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 19023, f. 16), becoming major in the regiment, then in garrison at Ostend, 27 Jan. 1711, lieutenant-colonel 4 April following, and brevet-colonel 16 Oct. 1712 (Home Office Mil. Entry Book, viii. 39, 81,256). He was wounded at the head of the regiment at Dunblane in 1715. In 1717 he was promoted from lieutenant-colonel of the 4th dragoons to colonel of the 33rd foot, and in 1730 was transferred to the 13th dragoons. His death was announced in the papers by mistake in 1732. He became a brigadier-general in 1735, and major-general in 1739. Much of his service was at this time in Ireland. He became colonel of the 1st royal dragoons on 10 May 1740. He was one of the generals sent to Holland with Lord Stair in 1742. His autograph, a very tall and peculiar ‘H. C. Hawley,’ is appended to a minute dated 23 April 1743, drawn up by a council of war summoned by Lord Stair at Aix-la-Chapelle, recording the unanimous opinion of the English general officers consulted that the advance into Germany ‘is absolutely necessary’ (Add. MS. 22537, f. 240). Under Cope, who was his senior as a general, Hawley was second in command of the second line of horse at the battle of Dettingen. He afterwards was in command at Ghent, where, according to Horace Walpole, he frightened the magistrates out of their wits by kicking downstairs a messenger sent to him with a money-offering on his marching into the town (Letters, ii. 1, 2). He became lieutenant-general on 30 March 1744, was second in command of the cavalry at the battle of Fontenoy, 1 May 1745, and succeeded to the command when Sir James Campbell [see Campbell, Sir James, (1667–1745)] was killed. Returning to England later in the year, he was employed under the Duke of Cumberland in the north of England, and on 20 Dec. 1745 was appointed commander-in-chief in Scotland (Home Office Mil. Entry Book, xix. 223), where his harshness made him unpopular. On 16 Jan. 1746 Hawley was defeated by the clans under Prince Charles Stuart on Falkirk Muir, a blundering affair, of which a good account is given by R. Chambers (Hist. of the Rebellion, 1745, ch. xix.) Wolfe, who was Hawley's brigade-major, speaks very lightly of it (Wright, Life of Wolfe, p. 75). Cope and his friends were not indisposed to magnify the disaster as a set-off against the rout at Prestonpans (Maclachlan, Duke of Cumberland Orders). On the arrival of the Duke of Cumberland as captain-general, Hawley was placed at the head of the cavalry of the army, together with the Argyleshire militia and some volunteers. In this capacity he was present at Culloden and in the camp at Inverness. Hawley left Scotland with the Duke of Cumberland in July 1746 (ib. p. 333), and the year after accompanied the duke to Flanders, where on 11 April 1747 he was appointed to the command of the cavalry (ib. pp. 347–8), which he held until after the battle of Val or Laffeldt, when he returned home. He was one of the major-generals serving on the staff in Ireland from 1748 to 1752 (Quarters of the Army in Ireland, under date). While in Flanders Hawley had been appointed governor of Inverness and Fort Augustus. On 8 July 1752 he was appointed governor of Portsmouth. A letter from Portsmouth in July 1755 says that Hawley was as ‘vivacious as ever’ when receiving the Duke of Cumberland. In November the same year Wolfe, referring to the rumour that Hawley was to be sent into Kent, from Portsmouth, to prepare for an expected invasion, wrote: ‘They could not make choice of a more unsuitable person, for the troops dread his severity, hate the man, and hold his military knowledge in contempt’ (Wright, Life of Wolfe, p. 329). Hawley died at his seat near Portsmouth on 24 March 1759 at the age (it is said) of eighty.

He appears to have been an indifferent officer but a very harsh disciplinarian. His men called him the ‘chief justice,’ in allusion to his frequent recourse to capital punishment. He affected a cynical disregard for public opinion, which was repaid with interest in the shape of tales more or less apocryphal, which have been repeated again and again without attempt at investigation; but he was always treated with marked consideration by George II and the Duke of Cumberland.

Hawley left considerable property and an eccentric will, executed at Southsea in 1749. ‘As I began the world with nothing,’ he says, ‘and all I have is my own acquiring, I can dispose of it as I please, and I direct and order … that my carcass be put anywhere; 'tis equal to me, but I will have no expense or ridiculous show any more than if a poor soldier (who is as good a man) were to be buried from the hospital. The priest, I conclude, will have his due; let the puppy have it. Pay the carpenter for the box. I give to my sister 5,000l. Any other relations I have are not in want, and as I never married I have no heirs. I have therefore long since taken it into my head to adopt a son after the manner of the Romans, who I hereafter name. …’ He names Captain William Toovey of the royal dragoons, whose mother has been his companion, nurse, and faithful steward, and for whom he is bound in honour to provide. He leaves to her the remainder of his personal and all his real estate, and appoints the adopted son his sole executor, concluding, ‘I have written this with my own hand, because I hate priests of all professions, and have the worst opinion of all members of the law.’ The will was proved in London in 1759 by Captain William Toovey, who took the name of Hawley, and was father of Lieutenant-colonel Henry William Toovey Hawley, 1st king's dragoon guards, the father of William Henry Toovey Hawley of West Green House, Huntingdonshire (Burke, Landed Gentry, 1868).

[Sir Walter Scott (Tales of a Grandfather, ch. xxxi.) refers to a coarse Jacobite ballad in which Hawley is described as a natural son of George II, a belief current in the north, but impossible. Burke's Landed Gentry, 1868 ed., gives a genealogy of Hawley, in some particulars at variance with Hawley's testamentary account of himself; the latter is evidently authentic. Some writers identify the general with Henry Hawley, page of honour to Prince George of Denmark in 1704, and afterwards equerry, and pensioned in the latter capacity at the prince's death. This is uncertain. For Hawley's later career may be consulted, besides those cited above: Cannon's Hist. Rec. 4th Light Dragoons (now Hussars); De Ainslie's Hist. Rec. 1st Royal Dragoons, London, 1888; A. N. C. Maclachlan's Order Book of William, Duke of Cumberland, London, 1876; Robert Chambers's Hist. of the Rebellion in Scotland in 1745, new ed. 1869; Culloden Papers; Relazione della Vittoria … &c. (1748, 8vo), an Italian account of the affair at Falkirk Muir, indexed in Brit. Mus. Cat. of Printed Books under ‘Sheridan, Sir T.;’ Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. i. 440–4; R. Wright's Life of Wolfe, London, 1864, pp. 74–6, 78, 91, 318, 329; H. Walpole's Letters, i. 409, 414, ii. 1, 2, 3, 4, 15, 25; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. xi. 389–90; Gent. Mag. vol. xxix., for announcement of death, and p. 157 for copy of will, the text of which is given in full.]

H. M. C.